The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Is wheat safe to eat?  (Read 7395 times)

another_someone

  • Guest
Is wheat safe to eat?
« on: 01/03/2008 15:00:12 »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_sensitivity#Causes_of_gluten_sensitivity
Quote
Some of the recently discovered biochemical and immunochemical properties of these proteins suggest they evolved for protection against dedicated or continuous consumption by mammalian seed eaters. One recent publication even raises the question 'is wheat safe for anyone to eat?'

So, what is the current state of consensus on this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_sensitivity#Comparative_pathophysiology
Quote
Comparative pathophysiology
Comparison of different forms of gluten sensitivity
Gluten-sensitive enteropathyWheat allergyGluten-sensitive idiopathic neuropathy
Typical symptomssteatorrhoea,
malnutrition,
diarrhea,
lactose intolerance,
food allergies
Eczema,
Asthma
   ataxia
peripheral neuropathys
Primary
tissue targets
Small intestine(epi)dermis
bronchi
intestines
CNS
Peripheral nerves
Atypical pathologiesAID (numerous)
chronic constipation
neuropathies
cancer(lymphoid)
arthritis
migraines
anaphylaxis(exercise
or aspirin induced)
unknown
Secondary
targets
(common)
blood(chemistry)
bowel
nervous system,
autoantigens
connective tissue
CNS
vascular
unknown
Immunoglobin
isotype
IgA
IgG
IgE
IgG, IgA
IgG
IgA
Antibody
recognition
α/β,γ-gliadin (AGA)
transglutaminase(ATA)
albumins,
globulins,
Prolamins (ω-gliadin),
glutelins
α/β-gliadin
HLA
associations
DQ2.5
DQ8
DQ2.2/DQ7.5
unknownDQ2
DQ8?
DQ1?
Cellular
immunity
T-cells
Eosinophils
Monocytes
Mast cells
Eosinophils
unknown
Background &
references
Coeliac disease
GSEA conditions
Wheat allergyIGS Neuropathies
« Last Edit: 01/03/2008 16:37:20 by another_someone »


 

Offline rosy

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1018
  • Chemistry
    • View Profile
Re: Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #1 on: 01/03/2008 16:07:06 »
No idea, but I'd want to know the same sets of details for other foodstuffs which might be substituted before forming any opinions. That is to say... do we only know about issues with wheat because that's what's mostly eaten in the western countries where a lot of this sort of research is going on.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Re: Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #2 on: 01/03/2008 16:36:35 »
No idea, but I'd want to know the same sets of details for other foodstuffs which might be substituted before forming any opinions. That is to say... do we only know about issues with wheat because that's what's mostly eaten in the western countries where a lot of this sort of research is going on.

I think the issue is more that most things, including wheat, is probably safe in small quantities; but as you say, we eat an awful lot of wheat, so we are no longer talking about small quantities.
 

Offline rosy

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1018
  • Chemistry
    • View Profile
Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #3 on: 01/03/2008 17:43:47 »
Indeed. But we do have to eat quite a lot of stuff overall... starvation being more of a problem for most that gluten.
An awful lot of grains besides wheat contain gluten.. the mothers of two of my four housemates have coeliac disease, so I know very few details but have heard a lot of expositions of the tiresomeness of buying gluten-free foods.
I guess not eating wheat leaves, um, potatoes, and rice... I'm not entirely clear about the climate and space requirements for growing those, but I've a suspicion feeding everyone would become an issue (given the shelf life of potatoes vs grains, and the lack of paddy fields in the northern US and the big grain growing regions of Europe).
Also, as I said above, the default behaviour in Europe is to eat a lot of wheat. So those people who are sensitive to wheat have problems. If we ate something else instead, would we discover that other foods have similar effects on different people? I'd want to see that research done before encouraging a major shift in lifestyle and agriculture.
Obviously everyone eating a varied diet would reduce the risk of any one foodstuff causing problems (and make it easier for those who cannot tolerate one to find other things to eat).
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #4 on: 01/03/2008 18:23:27 »
Indeed. But we do have to eat quite a lot of stuff overall... starvation being more of a problem for most that gluten.


Certainly.  Things don't happen without a cause, and we have come to where we are not because of everybody's stupidity, but because they had other problems to solve, which they did the best they could, and it is now up to us to work with the problems their immediate solutions inevitably bequeathed to us.

No-one can solve all the problems of the world single handed, and our ancestors dealt with their immediate problems, and left us to deal with the residue.

An awful lot of grains besides wheat contain gluten.. the mothers of two of my four housemates have coeliac disease, so I know very few details but have heard a lot of expositions of the tiresomeness of buying gluten-free foods.
I guess not eating wheat leaves, um, potatoes, and rice... I'm not entirely clear about the climate and space requirements for growing those, but I've a suspicion feeding everyone would become an issue (given the shelf life of potatoes vs grains, and the lack of paddy fields in the northern US and the big grain growing regions of Europe).
Also, as I said above, the default behaviour in Europe is to eat a lot of wheat. So those people who are sensitive to wheat have problems. If we ate something else instead, would we discover that other foods have similar effects on different people? I'd want to see that research done before encouraging a major shift in lifestyle and agriculture.
Obviously everyone eating a varied diet would reduce the risk of any one foodstuff causing problems (and make it easier for those who cannot tolerate one to find other things to eat).

Agreed with all of the above.

I just wonder that if we ate less gluten in earlier years (fewer sandwich diets while we are rushing from one thing to another, and grab the most convenient food we can, a sandwich), might delay the onset of gluten intolerance later in life.

This is not to say (despite the title of this thread) we should all abstain from gluten.  The impression I have is that gluten intolerance (even at a subclinical level) is a cumulative thing; so if we keep out intake of gluten low in early life, maybe we can defer any substantial intolerance to a point where we would die of of something or other before we ever needed to worry about developing intolerance.

As you say, it is about variety in one's diet - but that too is not an easy option when we have such regimented lifestyles that we are all rushing from one place to another, and quickly have to grab what we have time to grab.
 

Offline JimBob

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6564
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • Moderator
    • View Profile
Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #5 on: 01/03/2008 18:54:28 »
Well, the Roman Legions would not have been able to function without their bread, cheese and sausage. An the Egyptians that built the pyramids and the graves in the valley Of the Kings lived pn bread, beer and onions.

I believe that until recently, the knowledge of the effects of gluten on some have not been known because these people did not survive. The genes that cause the problems are recessive and only become active when both parents carry them.

What we are doing is using medical science to increase and propagate a non-advantageous trait into the society. Is this the right thing to do and what huge problems will this cause in society 100 years from now?
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #6 on: 01/03/2008 19:42:41 »
I believe that until recently, the knowledge of the effects of gluten on some have not been known because these people did not survive. The genes that cause the problems are recessive and only become active when both parents carry them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_sensitivity#Causes_of_gluten_sensitivity
Quote
Some of the recently discovered biochemical and immunochemical properties of these proteins suggest they evolved for protection against dedicated or continuous consumption by mammalian seed eaters. One recent publication even raises the question 'is wheat safe for anyone to eat?'

The inference is that the risks, to some slight degree, may apply to anybody, whether one, both, or neither, parent have a particular gene.  If may be that the gene in question codes for a more extreme gluten intolerance, but the inference (by no means suggesting that it is a proven situation) is that to a lesser extent, even in the absence of such a gene, gluten intolerance may develop in anybody.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2008 19:46:22 by another_someone »
 

Online Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8647
  • Thanked: 42 times
    • View Profile
Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #7 on: 02/03/2008 16:08:24 »
If you look at Wiki it gives an icidence of gluten intolerance of about 1% and an incidence of from 1% to 100 % for lactose intolerance, depending on the ethnic group.
At best, if you said that wheat wasn't safe to eat you would have to say that milk wasn't either. Of course, for most people these 2 foods are perfectly well tollerated.
 

another_someone

  • Guest
Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #8 on: 02/03/2008 18:15:40 »
If you look at Wiki it gives an icidence of gluten intolerance of about 1% and an incidence of from 1% to 100 % for lactose intolerance, depending on the ethnic group.
At best, if you said that wheat wasn't safe to eat you would have to say that milk wasn't either. Of course, for most people these 2 foods are perfectly well tollerated.

Most chronic diseases are underreported, particularly in their milder forms.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_sensitivity#Idiopathic_gluten_sensitivity
Quote
Idiopathic gluten sensitivities are not as well defined as GSE or allergy. The debate over this subset stems from the fact that identification of all grades of GSE and allergies is not uniformly approached. Most cases of early GSE go undetected, particularly before 2005. There appears to be a small fraction of non-GSE gluten-sensitive individuals that show neither gluten-allergies but do have elevated anti-gliadin IgA or IgG. Common symptoms are peripheral neuropathies and cerebral ataxia. Within the GSE set these may be explained by calcification of brain channels and avitaminosis. Within the 'true' IGS, close examination has not been done. It is unclear how much of the phenomena can be explained by allergies, by contribution of innate immunity, or some altered T-cell mediated immunity.

At present, an improvement in patient condition on gluten-free (GF) diet indicates a sensitivity. Some of the categories listed below may be moved to GSE or Gluten allergy with more research or in the case of Crohn's Disease, should be removed as being gluten sensitive.

Silent Disease. Depending on testing somewhere between 3 and 15% of the normal population have anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA). Studies using anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA) reveal that in undiagnosed or untreated individuals with AGA, with increasing risk for lymphoid cancers and decreased risk for other associated with affluence. Though it is unknown in these studies the percentage that are GSE.

So the 1% you quote is probably a minimum, and it could be as high as 15%, although that does seem to be an extreme upper bound.

The comment on lactose intolerance is valid, but as you point out, is dependent on ethnic groups (nothing I have seen at this time indicates any knowledge of differences between ethnic groups, although that probably reflect more of a lack of research in the area than any evidence that variability in ethnic distribution is absent).

The other difference is that from what I understand, lactose intolerance is either present or absent in the individual (as an adult), whereas the indication with gluten sensitivity is that it is progressive, and so the relationship between people who do not display lactose intolerance, but may be at risk later in life, is probably different from the relationship between people who presently do not have gluten sensitivity but may develop such later in life.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2008 18:19:27 by another_someone »
 

Offline Atomic-S

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 928
  • Thanked: 18 times
    • View Profile
Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #9 on: 08/03/2008 04:58:27 »
A number of years ago,I developed acute ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory condition. At the time I was eating much wheat, and may have also been adding bran. I don't recall. Also nuts, and a low-fat diet. When I changed all of this, I got over the condition. I think wheat was probably the chief aggravant, although a few other dietary pecularities also seemed to invite flare-ups. I am unsure if perhaps the bran fraction may have been the offending fraction, rather than the gluten. The germ I don't seem to have a problem with. I have a considerable variety substituted other grains for the majority of my former wheat consumption. Also there seems to be a correlation between the state of bowel elimination and the likelihood of a flare up, it being noticeably greater when the elimination is noticeably worse. However, because variations in elimination also correspond to variations in diet, it is difficult to say whether the simple fact of poor elimination, or a sensitivity to some specific food(s) or lack thereof, are the proximate cause of a flare-up. Either way, peanut butter is also highly suspect, and I have avoided it for some time, although did eat some lightly roasted peanuts not long ago without any obvious problem.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Is wheat safe to eat?
« Reply #9 on: 08/03/2008 04:58:27 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums